low man on the totem pole

The low man on the totem pole is the least important or lowest ranking person of a particular group. This relates to the bottom of a totem pole which acts as the range of experience and skill of any group. For instance in the workplace, the temporary employee or the person with the least important job is the low man on the totem pole; as he begins getting more experience and moving up such as to a team member, then manager, then supervisor, then director of the company; he is moving up the totem pole and becoming more important.